New Cisco survey reveals the cybersecurity habits of UK workers

March 29, 2022


A new survey from Cisco amongst UK workers has revealed that cybersecurity protocols need to be made far simpler to save time, increase productivity and protect corporate networks from attack.

The research finds that employees of UK businesses spend an average of 49 hours a year on security measures at work.

Security is not always taken seriously

Cybersecurity is not a top priority for many UK workers and they don’t even see it as their responsibility, despite the fact one in 10 UK businesses offered cybersecurity training for non-cyber employees in 2021. According to Cisco’s survey, one in 10 UK employees admit to working around their organisation’s security systems to get their work done.

UK workers said they spend on average 12 minutes a day on security measures; two minutes less than the global average of 14 minutes a day. One in five employees (19%) choose to use the same password for multiple accounts and applications, putting their business’s network and devices at risk. Just 15% say they use a secure password manager for their applications and online services.

Don’t know or don’t trust

A lack of awareness amongst employees about security measures used in their business is another major factor, underlining the need for cybersecurity awareness and educational programmes to ward off data breaches. Only a third (35%) of UK workers are aware of single sign-on solutions in their organisation to access a range of platforms and apps without having to log-in each time. In addition, only half (49%) use multi-factor authentication to access their company’s network.

Many other workers, however, admit to lacking confidence in their business’s data security. According to the research, this is an industry-specific problem. Significantly, HR professionals are amongst the least confident in their company’s cybersecurity and the ability to keep personal data safe and secure, critical to their roles and the protection of the employees they support. Almost a third of HR professionals (30%) claim that their organisation doesn’t take cybersecurity seriously enough.

Lothar Renner, Managing Director of Cybersecurity, Cisco EMEAR, said: “With hybrid work here to stay, employees are increasingly operating from uncontrolled environments, using public and private networks and multiple devices. When individuals don’t know how to protect themselves and their company network against an attack, an entire business could come under siege.

“In a new and complicated threat landscape, businesses need to focus on both educating employees to keep their communications safer and more secure and choosing integrated security technologies to maximise threat protection.”

Need for speed with security solutions

UK workers are keen to explore new security solutions that will boost security resilience and give them back time to focus on their work. Less than half (44%) of employees find it easy to securely access their IT equipment within minutes, reflecting the negative mindset of many towards security in the workplace. Meanwhile, over half (55%) of UK workers would be willing to embrace face recognition technology and 69% would feel comfortable using fingerprint recognition to access their network. This may reflect the increasing option of biometric authentication methods available to smartphone customers.

Educate, improve, invest

Cisco’s research demonstrates the need for UK organisations to improve their security awareness training and educate employees on the importance of reporting incidents and security vigilance in a new hybrid working world. Businesses should work with employees to find security protocols that work for all, helping to make the corporate network the most resilient it can be. Across industries, investing in security solutions that assure both employees and customers of data and network security is now critical.

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